Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said his state is going through a “challenging time.”

“Next week’s verdict will be an inflection point for not only Minnesota, certainly not just Minneapolis, St. Paul and in the surrounding area, but for our entire country,” the governor said.

The governor held a short Q&A while touring a Covid-19 vaccination site, but he said the pain across the state goes hand in hand. 

“Trying to separate the pain that’s in our community…. specifically for our communities of color, and our Black community very specifically, there is anguish, there is the belief, they’re not being heard,” he said. 

Addressing the protests that took place last night, Walz said the state will not issue a curfew, but will leave that up to local jurisdictions. “I want to be very clear, taking a step of a curfew is a pretty big one, and I want local law enforcement, local officials to be giving that input, before that’s taken.” 

The National Guard will remain in place until the end of the trial for Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin trial, as was always the plan, he said. Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

Last night, chemical irritants were used on the crowd. “I get it very clearly,” Walz said. “If those things are used indiscriminately, without a clear purpose, they irritate the crowd, they create the situation to be much more volatile.” 

“If they’re used indiscriminately or not judiciously, they simply make the crowd angrier,” he said. “But there is a place for them.” 

Walz said he thinks they were used correctly last night.

“I would argue and make the case that last night, the protection of life, the protection of property, and the clear, thoughtful use of how these were deployed in a limited manner made sense,” the governor said.

Walz said there were four minor injuries last night.

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